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  1. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) made news as they’ve officially announced that they have merged with ESPN to form their own network starting in 2019. It’s a reported 20-year deal through 2036. It was announced Thursday by ACC Commissioner John Swofford and ESPN President John Skipper at the conference’s annual Football Kickoff media event in Charlotte, N.C.
  2. I knew it was only a matter of time that the ACC would get their own network on ESPN. Let’s be real: They call the conference one of College Sports ‘Power 5 Conferences’ right? The others are the SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten (which all have their own networks) and Big 12. Plus, we all know that it’s not about TV exposure (Which the conference has plenty of on ESPN), it’s about the money, baby. Can you blame them? No.
  3. Speaking of the Big 12, they’re now looking to keeping up with ‘The Jones’ and are considering getting their own TV Network, and they’re looking at expansion-again. The most recent teams that they’ve added West Virginia and TCU-who were taken from the old Big East Conference in 2012.
  4. I questioned whether the Mountaineers could survive in the Big 12, but so far, they’re doing pretty good. Their nearest opponent is Iowa State, in my opinion, they should be in the ACC with Pitt. I think it’s ridiculous that they were rejected for membership when Pitt applied. Shame on the ACC for that omission.
  5. As for the Pitt Panthers football team, S Jordan Whitehead earned his fourth watch-list selection of the 2016 preseason when the dynamic sophomore safety was named a candidate for the Paul Hornung Award, which is annually presented to college football’s most versatile player by the Louisville Sports Commission.
  6. Of all the awards that this young man truly deserves, I think you can put this one at the top of the list. Whitehead is truly versatile, and probably the best in the country (yes, I know he only played one year) I said this before, he also deserves Heisman Trophy consideration-provided he makes a huge impact on the field again.
  7. As for the rest of College Football, it’s a fact that defending national champion Alabama the consensus favorite to repeat as champs, but Las Vegas doesn’t agree. More bets have been placed on the Michigan Wolverines to win the national title than any other team at multiple Las Vegas sportsbooks.
  8. It you’re betting on the Wolverines, then you’re very happy right now, but I think you are wasting your money, because I still think Alabama’s the better team. Plus, you still have to consider Clemson is slightly better than Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s crew as well after contending for their first National Championship since 1982. But as I’ve said before, that’s why you play the game.
  9. In the National Basketball League(NBA) news, it has been decided that the 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be moved from Charlotte because of its objection to North Carolina House Bill 2, which limited anti-discrimination protections in the state. They do however, hope to get the game in 2019.
  10. The city has its reasons and the NBA had to respond with theirs. It’ll hurt the city from a financial standpoint because All-Star Games are truly a gift to the host city. Hornets owner Michael Jordan stated that he understands the NBA’s decision & that he’s grateful for the opportunity for the city to host the game in 2019.
  11. As for other NBA news, many persons wondered why the Boston Celtics didn’t end up signing former OKC Thunder F Kevin Durant (who ended up with the Golden St. Warriors) and Celtics F Jae Crowder isn’t afraid to voice his displeasure over it.
  12. Crowder stated that the Celtics made a good sales pitch to Durant (one of 6 teams to do so) and that the Celtics were the only team in the NBA to beat World Champion Cleveland and the Warriors on their home court and that it’s a ‘slap in the face’ that he chose the Warriors.
  13. I can understand Crowder being disappointed, but he needs to let it go. Durant was a free agent and he made a business decision to sign with the Western Conference (and last year’s Champion) Warriors, period. Don’t insult the man because of it.
  14. Apparently NBA HOF Charles Barkley is also making news-in golf, that is. He’s 6,000-1 to win the tournament, which tees off Friday at Edgewood Golf Course. He’s by far the biggest long shot in the field.
  15. So in Layman’s terms, that means that Barkley is the worst golfer in the tournament. lightly worse odds than Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and comedian Larry the Cable Guy, who are each 3,000-1. Hey, give the man credit, at least he didn’t try to become a professional golfer.
  16. As for MLB news, the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs have made a pre-trade deadline move by acquiring lefty reliever Mike Montgomery from the Seattle Mariners in a 4-player deal. Such a move bolsters the Cubs struggling bullpen.
  17. I salute the Cubs on making this move as they’re trying to secure their first division title since 2008. They’re doing what contenders do: fortify their lineups during the stretch run. And I think it’s only the beginning for the Cubs and other contending teams.
  18. As for the Pirates who remain in 3rd place in the NL Central, it’s rumored that they’re looking to ‘buy’ and not ‘sell’ by the August 1st Deadline. I hope they do, because they’re just a starting pitcher (or two) away from making a strong run at their 4th consecutive postseason appearance. Time will tell.
  19. The Pittsburgh Steelers have also made news that they have released veteran TE Matt Spaeth on Thursday. GM Kevin Colbert stated that Spaeth not being able to recover from off season knee surgery as being reasons for his release.
  20. I feel bad for Spaeth, who won a SB ring with the Steelers in 2008. I’m sure it was a hard decision for them. So with the retirement of veteran Heath Miller. Former SD Chargers TE Ladarius Green and former rookie Jesse James are the Steelers top 2 TEs going into training camp.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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